Patriots see Cougars as roadblock to title chance

ROMNEY — The light at the end of the tunnel is not a runaway train aimed at Washington’s winning streak or football playoff hopes.

The light for the six-year-old Washington program is a possible first-ever playoff berth. And it sits at the end of the regular season for a Patriot team that now has won four straight games, has moved its overall record to 6-3 after they had stampeded to a 55-14 win against homestanding Hampshire, and resides firmly in the top 16 teams of the Class AAA ranks.

A Washington win on Friday against Jefferson on the friendly artificial turf at Marcus Field will bring a playoff bid to the Patriots.

Washington arrived at this desired destination with consecutive victories over Skyline, Frankfort, Musselman and Hampshire.

Washington High’s Kendell Smith scored three touchdowns last week against Hampshire.

Washington High’s Kendell Smith scored three touchdowns last week against Hampshire.

In winning on the road at Rannells Field at Hampshire High, the Patriots showed their most effective pass offense of the season as well as getting the usual generous ground yardage provided by Colin Gustines.

Quarterback Matt Harris threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Kendell Smith scored three of those pass offense touchdowns. Smith also returned a pass interception for his fourth score of the night. Smith caught passes worth 179 yards.

Gustines had 168 yards along the ground. He scored once.

Washington’s first two scores came from the Harris-to-Smith combination.

With the Patriots in front by two touchdowns, Harris lofted an alley-oop pass high in the air to Smith. The 6-foot-5 receiver outjumped the Trojan defense to make his third TD catch of the night.

Harris also found Derrick Brunson with a scoring pass and Patric Baylor had a fumble-return Patriot touchdown and a 27-yards scoring dash in the last period.

In the aftermath, both teams had 6-3 records. But it’s Washington that controls a path to the playoffs. Beat Jefferson and the Patriots are in the postseason for the first time. Hampshire faces Class AA Frankfort, a team the Patriots could tell the Trojans about since they stopped the Falcons, 26-6, earlier in the season.

It’s Washington controlling its fate.

And it took four consecutive wins to get to that position.


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